Listening In: What’s in a Name?

By: - February 10, 2012

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“Every good conversation starts with good listening.” 

I came across this quote recently and it started me thinking.  What we adoptive and foster parents need, among other things, is to be engaged in some really good conversations.  Conversations that offer insight, wisdom, and hope.  Conversations that can inspire, educate, and guide us.  Even conversations that challenge and stretch us.  But to do so, we need to be willing to listen.  Even more than willing, we need to proactively seek out these voices and perspectives and in essence say to them, “Please share with us.  We’re listening.”

So where to turn for these kinds of conversations?  Who should we be listening to?  Immediately those who were adopted and/or spent time in foster care come to mind. 

We adoptive and foster parents can be a talkative bunch.  But I am convinced that if we want to truly love and serve our children well…if we want to be engaged in good conversations about what our kids need, how they might feel, and how we can really begin to understand and connect with them, then we need to “shut up” and start listening to those who, in many ways, understand our kids best because they have traveled a common path.  And of course this conversation is not just about us as parents; it’s about us as a community of people brought together and connected by a common bond, but lived from different perspectives. 

I am discovering that adoptees have a great deal to say, and we would all benefit from listening in.  So as we move forward we will use this space to do just that. 

One “voice” that has blessed and benefited our family (and many Tapestry families) over the years is Melanie Chung-Sherman.  Melanie was adopted from South Korea when she was young.  She is now a wife and mom, and has spent years serving children and families as an adoption professional.  She also writes regularly for Adoption Today, and in a recent issue she shared her thoughts on the often discussed issue of ‘naming.’  Melanie starts by asking, “How important is it for adoptive parents to integrate a child’s birth name into his or her legal name (adoptive name)? Why?”  She then offers her perspective about the interplay between a name and one’s identity.  These are clearly thoughts that all adoptive and foster parents would do well to ‘listen in’ on.

Read Melanie’s entire article here.

Also Found In: Listening In, Talking About Adoption, Tapestry Blog